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How to Tone Down Spicy Food & Sauces

Updated: Feb 12

How to Tone Down Spicy Food & Sauces by mikey v's

Here at Mikey V's, we love our hot sauces and spicy food... HOWEVER, sometimes you make either a dish or a sauce just a bit too hot. It happens. So today we want to talk about how to tone down spicy food and sauces.

We’ll explain how to make overly spicy dishes more enjoyable by utilizing easy-to-follow tips. It is very possible to mellow the heat in dishes and it's not all that hard to do. It really just comes down to incorporating the right ingredients so that it will neutralize and balance out all of the flavors.

So here are a couple of simple strategies on how to make your food a little less spicy!

We've split this blog into two parts. The first part will be on how to make food less spicy while the second part will be on how to make a sauce less spicy.

1. Tips For Making Food Less Spicy


Add in Dairy Products

You've just whipped up your favorite spicy dish and you can't wait to dig in. But you take a bite... AND the heat is almost too much to handle.


There's an easy solution though - adding dairy products.

Dairy has a natural ability to counteract spiciness, so a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of cheese can help tone down the heat. You can also try stirring in things such as butter, cream, or yogurt. In addition to that, you can also try making a cream or sauce that can be added on top of the dish.

Not only will this make your dish more enjoyable to eat, but it can also add a delicious creamy element to the flavor profile.

dairy products

Mix in Some Sweetness

Adding some sweetness to your dish is a perfect way to tone down the spiciness and make it more bearable. Whether it's drizzling honey on top of your dish, adding a bit of sugar to the recipe, or squeezing in lemon juice to enhance the flavors; a touch of sweetness can balance out the heat.

If you have a BBQ dish or chili, the best way to tone them down is by adding things such as honey or brown sugar. Which are amazing flavor compliments to such dishes.

Taming the spice in a dish or sauce doesn't mean sacrificing flavor. When you mix in some sweetness, you'll discover a delicious new taste that will keep you coming back for more.

Dilute With More Liquids or Ingredients

Adding more ingredients to your food or sauce can help to dilute the spiciness as well. If you've made a spicy chili, for example, try adding some extra beans or vegetables such as diced carrots, zucchini, and celery.

If you have a soup that's too hot to handle, try stirring in some more broth or stock until it reaches the desired level of spiciness. Adding these liquids will also allow you to adjust the flavor.

Not to mention, it gives you a bit more food!

Whenever you're adding in more ingredients though, keep in mind that you'll want to only add in what makes sense and complements the other ingredients.

spicy chili dish

Incorporate Some non-spicy ingredients

If you're looking for a quick fix, adding some non-spicy ingredients can help mellow the flavors quickly. This could be something like adding in more herbs and spices that don’t include heat, such as garlic powder, oregano, or basil.

You could also try stir-frying your dish with some vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, or whatever else you may have on hand. These will not only add some flavor but they will help to balance out the spiciness as well.

The hardest part here is just deciding on what is going to complement your food the most. By simpling adding in more ingredients that aren't spicey you are naturally going to cut through some of the spiciness in the dish.

Sprinkle in Some Acidity

The acidity from something like lime juice or vinegar can help tame the heat of a dish.

Adding in some citrus is an easy and effective way to make your dishes more enjoyable, as it will not only balance out the spiciness but also give your dish a nice zesty flavor. You can also add a bit of red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar if you don't have any limes handy.

If you have a tomato base dish, you can also try adding in more tomato sauce.

Adding in some acidity can help mellow things out quite nicely - just be careful not to overdo it!

citrus cut up to add to a spicy dish

Utilize Nut Products

Nut products are a great way to take the edge off of spicy dishes. If you have a thick curry or sauce that's too hot, try stirring in some nut butter such as peanut butter or almond butter. Not only will this make it less spicy, but it can also give your dish a delicious creamy or crunchy element.

If you've never experienced some Asian style dishes such as Pad Thai or Dan Dan Noodles, this advice may seem a bit strange. But trust us when we say that it can do wonders for flavor as well as taming some of that heat.

You could also add in things such as chopped peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and other nuts if you don't want to use nut butter.

Just be careful not to add too much as nuts can overtake the flavor of a dish real fast!

Add or Remove Some Fat

Adding more fat to a dish or sauce is an easy way to reduce the spiciness. Capsaicin (which is what most dish and hot sauce get their heat from) is oil soluble. This means that by adding more fat to your dish can help to dissolve some of the heat.

Whether it's adding some olive oil, butter, or cream - these will mellow out the heat considerably. We recommend trying more neutral oils/fats so that they don't overtake the flavor of your dish. Such as olive oil or coconut oil.

On the flip side of that, if you find your food is too greasy then you can try removing some of the fat as well. This could be done by skimming off some of the greases on top or simply reducing the amount of oil that's used in the recipe altogether.

spicy dish

Utilize Some Starchy Carbs

Adding starchy carbs such as potatoes or rice can help to absorb spiciness. For example, if you have a chili that's too hot - try stirring in a bit of cooked macaroni or pasta to help mellow it out.

This is also true for soups and stews - if your soup is too spicy, adding in some cooked grains like quinoa can help balance things out as well.

If you're looking to cut down on calories, you could also try adding mashed cauliflower instead. This is an all too easy way to reduce the spice in your food!

tips on how to tone down spicy food infographic by mikey v's

2. Tips For Making Sauce Less Spicy


How to Make Hot Sauce Less Spicy

Uh oh, did you get a little too carried away with the hot sauce? Don't sweat it, we've all been there. There's nothing wrong with wanting some spice in your life, but sometimes it can be a little too much to handle.

Luckily, there are so many different ways to tame the heat and still enjoy your hot sauce. So don't toss it yet! Whether you accidentally threw in one too many peppers or you're trying out a new recipe and didn't expect it to be so fiery, there's no need to panic. We've got you covered with some tips and tricks on how to make hot sauce less spicy.

We won't be going into detail about how to go about making the hot sauce (If you want that, we highly suggest going with the ultimate hot sauce cookbook), but we will be sharing with you a few simple tips for leveling out the heat.

So that that being said, here are some of the best ways to make a hot sauce less spicy:

  • Add more of the non-spicy ingredients

  • Use sour flavors

  • Add a sweetener

  • Add alcohol

  • Add butter or olive oil

  • Add coconut milk

  • Add yogurt

Adding more ingredients like onions, garlic, or even fruit can balance out the spice. Another idea is to incorporate some creamy goodness with a dollop of butter or olive oil, coconut milk, or yogurt. Want a little kick without the burn? Try using sour flavors like lime or vinegar to bring some tang to the mix.

And if you have a sweet tooth, adding a sweetener like honey or sugar can do wonders in mellowing out the heat.

By utilizing these tips, you can easily make a hot sauce a bit less spicy.

mikey v's sweet ghost pepper hot sauce

How to Make Any Sauce Less Spicy

If you want to help naturalize the spiciness in any sauce, we actually suggest using all of the tips we just provided above for hot sauces.

No matter if you're making spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, curry, or anything else - these tips can be used to reduce the spice in pretty much any sauce.

Adding more of the non-spicy ingredients like vegetables and herbs, incorporating some sour flavors (like lime or vinegar), using sweeteners (such as honey or sugar), and adding butter/oil/coconut milk/yogurt are all great options for reducing the spiciness.

It may take a bit of trial and error before getting it just right, but with these tips at your disposal, you should have no problem taming that heat!

What Tips Do You Have to Help Make Something Less Spicy

Making a spicy dish or sauce less spicy doesn't have to be rocket science. With some simple tips and tricks, you can easily make your dishes more enjoyable.

But we also want to know if you guys have your own tips to share! Please leave a comment down below if you have some tips to share with us on how to tone down spicy food and sauces!

We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to take the edge off of spiciness without sacrificing flavor.

Now go on and enjoy that delicious yet slightly milder meal!

1 commentaire

JH Wellman
JH Wellman
01 févr.

I cook with a lot of hot spices, usually in Mexican type dishes. I have a high tolerance for chili spice however I have overdone it. The fastest more easy way to tone down a large pot of extra hot spicy food is to add sugar. Not the artificial type though. Something in the sugar reacts very fast to reduce the spice level so it is easy to over do it. Also, like using lemon or lime juice, after some time it will tone down the spice even more, so leave it a bit hotter than you want if not all is to be used and it will tone down more even later. With the sugar, even in a…

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